Superman and Me

If anybody ever asks me, "who's your favourite superhero?", I always have to say Superman, because he is the grand-daddy of them all. If there wasn't Superman, there wouldn't be superhero comics at all.

If anybody ever asks me, "who's your favourite superhero?", I always have to say Superman, because he is the grand-daddy of them all. If there wasn't Superman, there wouldn't be superhero comics at all. I can vividly remember my granddad buying me my first Superman comic in Woolworths when I was about seven years old, and I've loved the character ever since then. I used to copy drawings of him from the comics and make up my own stories that were very thinly veiled versions of Superman... So I've always been a fan.

Professionally speaking, it was a real thrill to get to work for DC Comics - they were my favourite publishers when I was a kid, and it seemed sort of impossible that anybody from the Home Counties could end up drawing superheroes for an American comic book company. My chance to draw Superman, I can actually isolate it to a key 20 minutes in my career.

The very first American convention that DC paid for me to go to was in Chicago in - I think - 1984. DC Comics had a party there and at that party I went up to Dick Giordano and said, "Oh, Dick, this new Watchmen comic that Alan Moore's writing? I'd like to draw it". Dick said, "well, how does Alan feel about that?"; I told him, "well, Alan would like me to draw it too", and he said "OK, it's yours". So I reeled away from that, and more or less bumped straight into Julius Schwartz, who was the editor of the Superman books at that time. He said to me, "So, Dave, when are you going to draw some Superman for me?", and I said "Any time you like, Julie - who's going to write it?". He asked "Who would you like to write it?" and I said "Alan Moore?" and he went "OK, fix it up!".

We went back to New York after the convention, and I remember phoning Alan from DC's offices and saying "I'm going to be working on Watchmen; and also, do you fancy doing a Superman story together...?" He was very enthusiastic , and that eventually came out as a story called For The Man Who Has Everything. It was a huge thrill - to work with Alan, to work on Superman, and to work with Julie Schwartz who was one of the people whose comics I really loved when I was a kid. So that Superman dream came true in a really unexpected way. I later got to write some Superman comics which was great, too. I found I was so familiar with the character after all those years, that he almost wrote his own dialogue.

Man of Steel looks like it's going to be huge from what I've seen. I remember first meeting Zack at the UK premiere of 300 (based on the Frank Miller graphic novel). At that point I knew Zack was on to direct Watchmen, so I just wanted to say hi to him - I knew he was very busy at the premiere of his film. So I said "hi", but we then launched into conversation and stood there for about half an hour or more and just talked about Watchmen and I knew at that point that he absolutely got it. That he really was a fan - but that he also had the vision and the ability to really get it made right. The Watchmen movie was a really difficult film to make but I thought he absolutely nailed it - both in being faithful to the graphic novel and in just making an exciting movie.

So I've got great expectations for Man of Steel. From everything I've seen so far, I think Zack seems to have found a way to make Superman fresh, but while still retaining the nobility of the character, and everything about him that I really like. I mean, I can do without him having the red Y-fronts on -from a stylistic point of view, I can completely understand that! I'm also really pleased to see that General Zod is back. Superman II was one of my all-time favourite superhero movies, so I'm absolutely thrilled to see the Kryptonian villains. And Michael Shannon is great, he's so creepy. He seems to emanate something, even just from the brief bits of him that I've seen in the trailers for Man of Steel, to me, he is Zod now.

And Henry Cavill is from Jersey? Well, we all know it's a chunk of the planet Krypton that landed in the English Channel.

MAN OF STEEL is released in cinemas on Friday 14 June

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